Work Your Small (Case Study: Meals on Wheels)

Guy Arceneaux

Guest blogger Guy Arceneaux is Director of Marketing and Communications for Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland

Here’s my top takeaway from my first three months on the job at Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland: Smaller, more nimble nonprofits like ours typically know their audiences better—so are far more connected with them—than do most large, complex organizations.

That Was Then
In 2013, I was the Director of Marketing for an international humanitarian development nonprofit. The annual budget was nearly one billion dollars, with our $2.3 million marketing budget funding the work of three departments and 13 staff members. Sounds like a lot, right?

International travel was the norm, and that was how we kept in productive touch with our constituents overseas. So it was a surprise when the marketing department was moved from the Charitable Giving division to a USOPS (U.S. Operations), with our new mandate was to serve the international and U.S. constituencies.

The tension grew by the moment as my team struggled to serve both areas with the same resources. Then, soon after a new CEO came on board, my role was cut in a managerial shake-up.

This Is Now
Now, just over two years later, I find myself at a much different organization— Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland—working in a much different way. We have a great tagline, More than a meal. And we live it!

In just a few months, I’ve seen Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland’s extraordinary client dedication. Our team goes beyond ringing the doorbell and handing over a meal to provide wellness evaluations and connections to related services. But there’s even more.

Every step forward we take depends on the strength of our relationship with the citizens of Central Maryland and their relationships with each other. Our volunteers, donors, and clients are linked in multiple ways—via family, business, and community. Together they make our organization strong and our impact significant!

I am working hard to develop a low-budget marketing program that engages each audience segment. But with our community supporters fully behind us, my passion, energy and confidence are high. And my plans are based on what I know works in our region—community events, not multi-million dollar ad budgets.

Thanks to this growing, caring organization, I’m at a new peak in my career. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

More from Guy: Case study on MOW’s use of creative briefs for events and media coverage. Easy to do, great value in building participation and relationships.

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